The authors have no disclosures.
Increasing Access to Cholesterol Screening in Rural Communities Catalyzes Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Article first published online: 29 JAN 2013
© 2013 National Rural Health Association
The Journal of Rural Health
Volume 29, Issue 4, pages 360–367, Autumn 2013
How to Cite
Landy, D. C., Gorin, M. A., Rudock, R. J. and O'Connell, M. T. (2013), Increasing Access to Cholesterol Screening in Rural Communities Catalyzes Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. The Journal of Rural Health, 29: 360–367. doi: 10.1111/jrh.12002
- Issue published online: 1 OCT 2013
- Article first published online: 29 JAN 2013
- cardiovascular disease;
- evaluation design and research;
- health promotion;
- health services research;
- rural health
Despite increasing frequency, little evidence guides cholesterol screening in less traditional health care settings, such as rural health fairs.
The Miller School of Medicine Department of Community Service (DOCS) is a student-run organization providing free basic health care to underserved South Florida communities. We retrospectively reviewed all new patients seen at 2007 DOCS rural fairs to describe their low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) values. In addition, we assessed if patient characteristics were associated with cholesterol abnormalities and whether patients with abnormalities who returned to a subsequent fair in 2008 or 2009 improved their cholesterol.
Of 252 patients, 145 (58%) had an LDL cholesterol over 129 mg/dL and 61 (24%) had an HDL cholesterol below 40 mg/dL or 50 mg/dL for males and females, respectively. Baseline LDL cholesterol was not associated with body-mass index (BMI), age over 60 years, gender, healthy lifestyle habits, or insurance status. Of 36 patients with elevated LDL cholesterol and a follow-up screening, 24 (67%) reduced their LDL cholesterol by at least 16 mg/dL though reductions were not associated with BMI reduction, and 22 (61%) increased their HDL cholesterol by at least 5 mg/dL, trending with BMI reduction.
Cholesterol screening at rural fairs can identify a high proportion of patients with abnormal cholesterol, including those who might not be considered at high risk. Although this may catalyze favorable cholesterol changes, the lack of an association with weight loss suggests patients seek additional medical care, which should be considered before offering cholesterol screening at fairs.